Suspect Arrested in Vermont Shooting of Three Palestinian-American Students

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Three young men of Palestinian descent, shot in Burlington

In a shocking incident that has stirred nationwide attention, police have arrested a suspect in connection with the shooting of three young men of Palestinian descent in Burlington, Vermont. The victims, all 20 years old, were attending a Thanksgiving gathering near the University of Vermont campus when the attack occurred.

The Arrest and Investigation

Jason J. Eaton, 48, was apprehended on Sunday afternoon by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, as per the Burlington Police Department. During a search of his apartment, which is located near the shooting site, authorities collected significant evidence. Eaton is scheduled for arraignment on Monday.

Details of the Shooting

The shooting took place around 6:25 p.m. on Saturday. According to Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad, the three victims were walking to a relative’s home when they were confronted by a white male with a handgun. “Without speaking, he discharged at least four rounds from the pistol and is believed to have fled,” Murad stated. Two victims were hit in their torsos and one in the lower extremities. Two of the victims are U.S. citizens, and the third is a legal resident.

Vermont police arrest suspect in ‘hate-motivated’ shooting of Palestinians

Possible Hate Crime

This incident, which left two men in stable condition and one with more serious injuries, is being investigated as a potential hate crime. “In this charged moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate-motivated crime,” Murad said, noting that two of the men were wearing Palestinian keffiyeh scarves at the time of the attack.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee released a statement indicating the victims were Palestinian American college students, with the shooting suspected to have occurred because the victims are Arab.

National and Community Responses

The incident has elicited strong reactions from various quarters. U.S. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senator Bernie Sanders have both condemned the attack, calling for unity against hate. Vermont Governor Phil Scott referred to the shooting as a tragedy and urged the state’s residents not to let the incident incite further hate or divisiveness.

Jewish and Arab advocacy groups have expressed solidarity with the victims and called for a thorough investigation into the incident as a possible hate crime. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest or conviction in the case.

Families’ and School’s Reaction

The Institute for Middle East Understanding shared a statement from the victims’ families, expressing concern for their children’s safety and well-being. Ramallah Friends School, where the victims graduated from, released a statement on Facebook, holding the victims in thought and standing united in hope and support.